Many wine drinkers have a handful of favorite go-to bottles that they keep in stock – big-name labels that are easy to find at most retailers or that can be ordered by the case online.
But even the most pleasing vintage can grow boring with repetition. This is when a trip to the local wine shop is in order. Rather than big-box chain retailers that carry a predictable stock, the best independent wine shops typically carry a unique selection of exciting or unknown labels. They are the perfect places to explore new wines and get recommendations from the experts. (Just for starters, here are 20 black-owned wineries you should know.)
To determine the best wine shops in America, 24/7 Tempo exercised editorial discretion after reviewing listings from a variety of sources including Wine Enthusiast, Punch, Food & Wine, Imbibe, Gayot, and International Wine Review, as well as numerous local and regional sites and reviews by Yelp users. Shops are listed in random order, not ranked.
What these shops excel in is customer service. Sometimes run by sommeliers, and always staffed by knowledgeable wine enthusiasts, the best wine shops in America are known for their friendly salesperson-advisors who will take the time to find out which wines you prefer and recommend new bottles that you are bound to enjoy – and sometimes source rarities for you.
Some feature a vast selection of Old World wines, while others offer a global variety; many specialize in wines from small family producers or biodynamic and organic vineyards. Most offer wine tastings, monthly clubs, and special events, and nearly all provide online ordering for pickup, local delivery or mailing. A few even serve as wine bars, where you can relax with a glass and a cheese plate. (Here are the best wine bars in America.)
Keife & Co.
> Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
This service-oriented specialty food purveyor carries wines from small family-owned producers with many natural, organic, and biodynamic options. The staff is ready to help you select the right wine, and they keep a log of your purchases to remind you of which wines you’ve bought and enjoyed. They also offer gift baskets, wine glass rental, and custom cheese and meat boards.
Corkscrew Fine Wine & Spirits
> Location: Jackson, Mississippi
A large wine and liquor outlet with constant sales, a discount area, and a huge wine selection, Corkscrew is known for their attentive service. Employees are happy to make recommendations, guide you through rare products, and will even help carry your purchases to the car if you’ve bought a case.
3 Parks Wine Shop
> Location: Atlanta, Georgia
A haven for everything wine-related, 3 Parks Wine Shop offers not only a curated selection of natural wines from small producers to fit any budget but also in-store tasting events, themed monthly subscription clubs, a mobile wine bar to cater your private event, and weekend wine-tasting flights.
Chambers Street Wines
> Location: New York City, New York
Not the place to go for brand name wines, this specialty retailer stocks mostly natural wines from small producers and carries a selection of old and rare vintages. While heavily represented regions include France, Italy, Germany and Austria, they also carry bottles from other top wine-producing countries including Spain, Australia, and the U.S.
Woodland Wine Merchant
> Location: Nashville, Tennessee
With a focus on sustainable and natural producers, Woodland Wine Merchant carries a carefully curated selection of quality affordable wines from around the world as well as beer and spirits. To best highlight rare wines from small producers, Woodland presents a small and constantly rotating stock with detailed written descriptions of each variety.
Flatiron Wines & Spirits
> Location: New York City, New York
With thousands of artisanal wines and liquors in stock, Flatiron Wines & Spirits caters to all price ranges. Their blog, wine guides, and wine classes empower customers to feel comfortable making selections, while their expert staff members go out of their way to aid in the process.
> Location: Santa Rosa, California
A warehouse of beer, wine, and liquor, Bottle Barn is known for their huge selection, low prices, and winery overstock discounts. Both popular and obscure brands are featured, with tons of local wine options including quality, affordable chardonnays. Stop by often to take advantage of the frequent wine and liquor tastings.
Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant
> Location: Berkeley, California
Kermit Lynch is an importer and distributor of fine French and Italian wines that are handpicked to exemplify the flavors of their native region. Customers can rely on Lynch’s expertise, and the wide range of styles and prices will please casual wine drinkers and oenophiles alike.
> Location: Kihei (Maui), Hawaii
A fine wine and liquor store that also sells specialty foods, craft beers, drinking accessories, and cigars, Wailea wine is a destination for quality gourmet products. In addition to stocking rare bottles, the shop can special-order wines they don’t keep in stock, and offers seasonal promotions and discounts.
1010 Washington Wine & Spirits
> Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Kind and helpful employees are the norm at this downtown Minneapolis wine and liquor store. They carry a wide selection of beer, wine, and spirits from all over the world, as well as a notable representation of local craft brews, and offer frequent tasting events.
Astor Wines & Spirits
> Location: New York City, New York
This renowned NoHo purveyor has been in business since 1946 and recently became an employee-owned company. One of Manhattan’s premiere destinations for rare world spirits and wines, Astor offers detailed flavor profiles and rotating staff picks that make browsing the expansive shop an exciting and educational experience.
> Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Fostered by a passion for interesting wines, Bin105 carries a unique and hand-picked selection of global wines as well as an assemblage from independent wineries in California, Oregon, and Washington. The owner and staff love turning customers on to new finds, as well as recommending a bottle that fits the occasion. The in-shop wine bar and tastings are welcome additions.
Square Wine Company
> Location: Madison, Wisconsin
A welcoming space for those who want to learn, Square Wine Company is more than just a wine shop. They offer weekly tastings that help customers and staff alike keep abreast of what’s in stock. They also have a small bar for guests to enjoy a glass or bottle, and focus primarily on artisan wines by small family vineyards.
Boulder Wine Merchant
> Location: Boulder, Colorado
Co-owned and run by master sommelier Brett Zimmerman, Boulder offers an expertly chosen assortment of wines at a range of prices, as well as craft beers, spirits, and artisanal foods. Every wine is hand-picked and each month brings a new selection of featured wines on sale.
Anfora Wine Merchants
> Location: Oak Park, Illinois
This boutique wine shop, bar, and education center features the best of small Italian wine producers and also offers classes, curated private tasting sessions, a monthly wine club, and a store membership that comes with loads of perks including 10% off all wine purchases and a free members-only monthly tasting.
Flatiron Wines & Spirits
> Location: San Francisco, California
This beautiful wine and liquor store – sibling to the New York City original – is well-organized and unpretentious. The staff has an encyclopedic knowledge of their stock and offer exemplary service. The shop also has a wine bar that features naturally-produced vintages and charcuterie plates, and offers tastings several times a week.
Calvert Woodley Fine Wines & Spirits
> Location: Washington, D.C.
With a vast selection of wine, liquor, and beer, as well as a tempting array of artisanal cheeses, meats, and gourmet groceries, Calvert Woodley is an affordable one-stop shop for entertaining. Take advantage of the weekly sales on featured wines, staff picks, and themed wine sampler cases from around the world.
> Location: Orlando, Florida
A bright and charming natural wine shop and bar, Golden Hour is a place to enjoy a few glasses and learn about some fun new wines from the extremely approachable proprietor. Let the staff’s knowledge of their rare and interesting wines guide your selection, and you will be a customer for life.
Crush Wine & Spirits
> Location: New York City, New York
The diverse range of wines and spirits at Crush may be sourced from around the globe but the common thread that unites them is the quality of their small-batch production. The dedicated staff are adept at helping customers discover products they’ll love, and the shop’s selection of rare and old vintages contains some surprising finds.
> Location: Denver, Colorado
For over 20 years Mondo Vino has served West Highlands with a unique collection of wine, beer, and spirits from global producers. From discount selections to valuable older vintages in the back cellar, there is a bottle for everyone. Free weekend tastings with bread and cheese give customers a chance to find their new favorite wine.
K&L Wine Merchants
> Location: San Francisco, Redwood City, and Los Angeles, California
With three California locations, K&L Wine Merchants carries thousands of rare and collectible wines dating back to 1925, as well as value wines of exceptional quality. Their inventory is truly mind-boggling and their top shelf spirits, craft beers, and monthly wine club offerings are priced competitively.
McCarthy & Schiering
> Location: Seattle, Washington
This specialty wine shop has two Seattle locations that offer fine estate wines from all major regions, with a particularly generous selection from the Pacific Northwest. The staff can source bottles for customers who collect rare vintages, while affordable offerings abound. Free Saturday tastings give customers a chance to hone in on the flavors of a particular region.
Red and White
> Location: Chicago, Illinois
A hip shop that specializes in thoughtfully sourced small-label wines, Red and White carries bottles that range from around $15 to $80 or so from most major wine-producing regions. They offer private group tastings as well as weekly tastings that are free for wine club members, and a conjoined bistro allows customers to enjoy a bottle on the spot.
The Austin Wine Merchant
> Location: Austin, Texas
For over 30 years, the Austin Wine Merchant has provided a diverse selection of expertly selected wines at competitive prices, with a particularly large selection from Burgundy and Italy, as well as a solid representation from all major regions. The staff is happy to make recommendations within a particular budget and will even help carry cases to your vehicle.
> Location:Hoboken, Jersey City, and Newark, New Jersey
CoolVines has three New Jersey locations, each with a different layout and selection, but all offering a wide range of small label wines, liquor, and craft beers, as well as tastings, music, and events. The hip flagship location includes a coffee shop and grocery section of cheeses and snacks to accompany your wine purchase.
Central Coast Wines
> Location: San Luis Obispo, California
This wine shop and bar carries the best of California’s Central Coast wines as well as local craft beer and cider. Open for public tastings as well as private events, the wine bar is an affordable alternative to driving to multiple vineyards for tastings, and the knowledgeable staff can even turn you on to small, local wineries that often get overlooked.
Bin 604 Wine & Spirits
> Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Tucked away on the second floor above a Whole Foods Market, this cozy hidden gem is worth a visit. The staff is adept at helping you navigate the seasonally rotating stock of quality wines, from easy dinner accompaniments to rare vintages, and they offer tastings and in-depth classes that explore various wine regions and varietals.
The Wine House
> Location: Los Angeles, California
This warehouse-style retailer sells anything and everything you’ll need to enjoy your beverages, and has an attached restaurant featuring fare that pairs well with wine. The vast range of vintages includes hundreds of affordable options, natural and biodynamic wines, and rare wines from small producers.
Houston Wine Merchant
> Location: Houston, Texas
Open since 1984, Houston Wine Merchant carries an interesting selection of wines from all over the world as well as fine artisanal spirits. The shop is well organized and the owners and staff are pleased to assist customers in selecting the right wine. Take advantage of the discounted monthly sampler cases.
> Location: Livingston, New Jersey
With highly regarded wines including some rare labels, the best prices around, and a management team that goes above and beyond, Wine Legend is a hidden gem in western Essex County. Although they also carry craft beers and spirits, their wine selection and expertise are where they truly shine.
Gary’s Wine & Marketplace
> Location: St. Helena, California
Gary’s Wine and Marketplace got its start in New Jersey, where it currently has four locations. The Napa Valley outpost opened in 2019 and has quickly become one of the destination wine shops in the area. With gourmet chocolates, cheese, and high end deli products, it’s the perfect spot to grab supplies for a picnic or a DIY romantic date. Or stop in for a quick glass of wine and a delectable sandwich.
Tastings of Charlottesville
> Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Since 1990, this wine bar, shop, and restaurant has offered the best of Old World wines paired with local farm-to-table fare. Stop in for a bottle or stick around for dinner and enjoy a flight of wines alongside a cheese plate and a seafood or steak entrée.
The Wine Guy Wine & Spirits
> Location: Smithtown, New York
This wine and liquor store features brands that represent the best value for their price, whether they’re $5 or $80 bottles. With free tastings, frequent sales and promotions, and everyday prices that are 25% lower than at surrounding stores, the Wine Guy is the place to save.
> Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Owned by a dynamic husband and wife duo, the Urban Grape aims to transform the way we taste wine. Wines are organized by their body and mouthfeel, rather than varietal or origin, giving both novice and seasoned wine drinkers a new way to consider their palate and appropriate food pairings. The staff provides stellar service – akin to that in a luxury hotel – and there are frequent free tastings on site.
Graft Wine Shop
> Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Owned by two best friends who happen to be sommeliers, this shop and wine bar is a cultural hub of great music and community. Graft offers a fantastic atmosphere for lounging and enjoying a few snacks with a bottle, and also carries a well-chosen selection of remarkably affordable quality wines.